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Scripture Reflection - February 21, 2016

Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18;  Philippians 3:17-4:1;  Luke 9:28b-26 “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.” (Lk 9:35)

In the Scripture readings, “mountains” represent a place of prayer and nearness to God.  In today’s first reading from Genesis and in the Gospel reading from Luke, Abraham and the three disciples, Peter, James and John, are called apart from the crowd and climb the mountain to a place of silence where they encounter God.  Their encounters were transformative.  They come down from the mountain changed and committed to new ways of being – Abraham entered into a covenant relationship with God and the disciples were confirmed in the authority and legitimacy of Jesus teaching.  Our forty day journey through Lent is an opportunity to reflect on our call to transformation.

n the first reading from Genesis, we see Abraham as a man of faith who models for us the type of faith and trust that God asks of each one of us.  Abraham was a wanderer who allowed God to chart his way through life.  Abraham was about 75 years old when God called him to go from Ur of the Chaldeans to the land of his kinfolk where God would make him the father of a great nation.  God asked Abraham to trust in God’s promise that he and Sara in their old age would have a child and their descendants would be as numerous as the stars.  These descendants are the Jews, Muslims, and Christians who trace a shared religious heritage to Abraham, their “one father in faith”.  The story of Abraham at the beginning of Lent challenges us to be willing to move out of our comfort zones and the secure places we have constructed for ourselves as God leads us on our journey of faith.  As our future unfolds, God may be calling us out of our preconceived dreams into an unknown and better possible future. The gospel story of the transfiguration is the scripture reading used for the second Sunday of Lent in all three liturgical cycles to guide us on our Lenten journey.  The words spoken by God the Father, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him” (Lk 9:35) was a strong directive to Peter, James and John and is a strong directive to each one of us.  While the disciples had spent three years with Jesus listening to his sermons and parables, observing his many miracles and witnessing his rebuttal to the criticisms of the Jewish leaders, they had not grasped his message that his kingdom was not of this world.  Like the disciples, as we grow in our love and knowledge of Jesus, we grow in our understanding of what Jesus is asking of us.  Is Jesus asking something special of me/us this Lent?

In the second reading, Paul’s letter to the Philippians, we also see a transformation.  Writing to his beloved converts in Philippi who have become absorbed in the things of the world, Paul reminds them that through baptism they have become “citizens of heaven” and should imitate those who live as Christians.  Paul’s words remind us that God is revealed through the lives of men and women whose lives reflect gospel values.

As we reflect on the readings from today’s liturgy, we must ask ourselves where do we place our trust?  Do I have the faith and itinerancy of Abraham to leave the past and move into a new unknown future?  Do I have the faith of the disciples to walk the road to Calvary with Jesus trusting in the promise of the kingdom?

Sister Mary T. Flood, OP

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